Jamaicans have a right to know what's in their food — HFJThursday, March 04, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton today reaffirmed Government's commitment to the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as he expressed support for the “Right to Know” campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the health harms of unhealthy foods, particularly ultra-processed (packaged) foods.
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) campaign was launched today in partnership with the ministry, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Paediatric Association of Jamaica, the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, and the National Consumers' League of Jamaica.
As the world observes World Obesity Day today, Tufton noted that addressing the factors that lead to NCDs is “critical” especially during the COVID-19 pandemic given the increased risked faced by persons with co-morbidities.
The campaign aims to highlight the need for front-of-package warning labels as one way to enable consumers to make healthier food choices.
The campaign is also in partnership with
According to the HFJ, substantial evidence has shown that consuming excess sugar from both beverages and foods increases the risk of developing diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers.
Excess sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure as well as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and death. The numbers are already alarming, as according to the World Health Organization, 80 per cent of all deaths in Jamaica are due to NCDs. Of this number, heart disease causes 30 per cent of deaths and diabetes causes 12 per cent.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness fully supports the Heart Foundation's campaign, especially during the pandemic, as we need to emphasise the health risks of unhealthy foods and drinks to encourage Jamaicans to make healthier choices to protect themselves and our children from NCDs,” Tufton said.
Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Deborah Chen said “our main campaign message is simple: "We have the right to know what's in our food. Research shows that consumers prefer simple, immediately visible labels on the front of food packages that are easy to read and understand. As Jamaicans, we need to continue to call for a food labelling warning system that allows us to quickly identify what is in our food so that we can make healthy choices.”
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